IBF number one and WBA number four contender Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams 27-1-1 (16) proved he deserved his lofty ranking with a comprehensive 12-round unanimous decision victory over IBF and WBA junior middleweight champion Jarrett ‘Swift’ Hurd 23-1 (16) at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia on Saturday night.
Despite fighting in the now former champion’s backyard, Williams refused to be intimidated by Hurd and had little problem dealing with the Maryland fighter’s three-inch height and four-inch reach advantage.
Williams, 29, from Philadelphia, started fast and beat the champion to the punch for much of the fight, dropping the 28-year-old Hurd in the second round to run away with a points win by scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 115-112.
“I am just overwhelmed. This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world,” said Williams, who lost a previous title shot to Jermall Charlo by KO5 in December 2016.
“Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot. I took the loss. I took it like a man and the whole world doubted me. I went into this fight a five-to-one underdog.”
In hindsight it’s hard to see why Williams was such a longshot. According to CompuBox, he outlanded Hurd in seven of the 12 rounds and connected with a total of 273 punches to Hurd’s 249.
“This is a dream come true,” continued Williams. “I have been waiting for this for years. I never ditched the gym. I never got into girls or left the gym. I am from the streets, but I was never in the streets. I was in the gym practicing my craft.
“The only people that believed in me were my team, but all I can say is ‘and the new’!”
Williams won many more believers tonight.